India asks Pakistan to release Indian prisoners in its custody

The government has called for early release and repatriation of civilian prisoners, missing Indian defence personnel, and fishermen along with their boats, from Pakistan's custody

July 01, 2023 02:14 pm | Updated 06:01 pm IST - New Delhi


Photo used for representation purpose only. File

Photo used for representation purpose only. File | Photo Credit: Reuters

India on July 1 called on Pakistan to expedite the release and repatriation of 254 Indian fishermen and four civilian prisoners who have completed their jail term.

Islamabad has also been asked to provide immediate consular access to the remaining 12 fishermen and 14 civilian prisoners who have been in Pakistan's custody and are believed to be Indian, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

India made the request in the context of the exchange of the lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen by both countries as part of a practice to do so on January 1 and July 1 every calendar year under the framework of a 2008 pact.

Also read | Pakistan to release 200 Indian fishermen and three civilian prisoners: Foreign Minister Bhutto Zardari

The MEA said Pakistan was asked for early release and repatriation of civilian prisoners, missing Indian defence personnel, and fishermen along with their boats.

India has shared lists of 343 civilian prisoners and 74 fishermen in its custody, who are Pakistani or are believed to be Pakistani. Similarly, Pakistan has shared lists of 42 civilian prisoners and 266 fishermen in its custody, who are Indian or are believed to be Indian, the MEA said.

"The government has called for early release and repatriation of civilian prisoners, missing Indian defence personnel, and fishermen along with their boats, from Pakistan's custody," it said in a statement.

"In this context, Pakistan was asked to expedite the release and repatriation of 254 Indian fishermen and four Indian civilian prisoners, who have completed their sentence," the MEA said.

It added, "Pakistan has been asked to provide immediate consular access to the remaining 12 fishermen and 14 civilian prisoners in Pakistan's custody, who are believed to be Indian." The MEA said Pakistan has been requested to ensure the safety, security and welfare of all Indians and believed to be Indian civilian prisoners and fishermen, pending their release and repatriation to India.

It said India remains committed to addressing, on priority, all humanitarian matters, including those pertaining to prisoners and fishermen in each other's country. "In this context, India has urged Pakistan to expedite necessary action at its end to confirm the nationality status of 62 believed to be Pakistani prisoners, including fishermen, whose repatriation is pending for want of nationality confirmation from Pakistan," the MEA said.

Also read | Six Indian prisoners died in Pakistan in last nine months: India calls it alarming

"As a result of sustained efforts by the government, 2,559 Indian fishermen and 63 Indian civilian prisoners have been repatriated from Pakistan since 2014," it said.

This includes 398 Indian fishermen and five Indian civilian prisoners who were repatriated from Pakistan this year, the MEA said.

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